2021 North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest winners announced

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Prairie Dog Embrace by Tim Samuelson | Wildlife category winner and Best in Show winner, Prairie Dog Embrace by Tim Samuelson. The sentiment portrayed in the moment captured by this image really struck the judging committee. One prairie dog wraps his arms around a second prairie dog that looks like he really needed that hug. The warmth of the colors matched the feeling, and the depth of field keeps the focus of the viewer in the moment.

The winners of the 18th annual North Dakota Governor’s Photo Contest have been announced.

This year’s contest had 543 submissions. Among the 15 photographers selected, 12 were first-time Governor’s Photo Contest award winners.

Photographers submitted photos to one or more of the following categories: Recreation, Road Trips, Badlands Scenery, Beyond the Badlands Scenery and Wildlife. Winning submissions will be published in North Dakota Tourism’s promotional materials and displayed at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum through mid-November.

The photos will then, for the first time ever, take part in a traveling exhibit through the North Dakota Art Gallery Association.



Category Winner: “Setting Decoys on a Frozen North Dakota Wetland” by Craig Bihrle from Bismarck.    

Honorable Mentions:

“Ice fishing for North Dakota’s State Fish” by Craig Bihrle from Bismarck.  

“Still on The Water” by Kim Black from Minot Airforce Base. 

Road Trips: 

Category Winner: “The Vast Lane” by Wendy Wood, from Grand Forks.

Honorable Mentions:

“Geese In Flight Thru Aurora” by Nate Reynolds from Glen Ullin.

“Buffalo Halo” by Troy Gunderson from Jamestown. 

Badlands Scenery: 

Category Winner: “Stormy Sunset” Nels Kilpela from Dickinson. 

Honorable Mentions:

“The Western Edge Untamed” by Suanne Kallis from Carrington. 

“Storm on Display” by Nels Kilpela from Dickinson. 

Beyond the Badlands Scenery: 

Category Winner: “Storm forming over sunflowers” by Roxanne Westerman from Mapleton. 

Honorable Mentions:

Neowise” by Erick Garza from Bismarck.

“Harvest” by Steve Silseth from Minot. 


Category Winner: “Prairie Dog Embrace” by Tim Samuelson from Fargo. 

Honorable Mentions: 

“Pheasant. Location” by Greg Kolden from Bismarck.

“Mr. Porcupine” by Cindy Nagel from Fargo. 

“Prairie Rattlesnake” by Chuck Miner from Mandan. 

“Northern Saw-Whet Owl” by Annie Goldade from Fargo. 

Best in Show: “Prairie Dog Embrace” by Tim Samuelson from Fargo. 

To view all the photos, click here.

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